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The board in question this program is produced and recorded at the University of British Columbia Canada under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. Oh it's a form of music unless the greeters instruments and a singer write in many forms of life Canada is more or less. And this is probably get a lot of Canadians down my neck but basically a carbon copy United States in every form from your refrigerators to your automobiles to your television programs with the difference of course on the network. But basically it's the same in music. This is true also. Elvis Presley is big in the United States here in Canada and in England and we all have all
countries all three countries have their own form of rock n roll music in London England they have a young entertainer called Cliff Richards who I understand right now is a top entertainer in London and he sounds like Elvis Presley. The word and picture war. The seventh of 10 programs examining current issues in United States relations with Canada. This program entitled the word and picture war is a brief look at the culture cold war which many Canadians feel they are engaged in with her overshadowing neighbor. The word and picture war. The dirtiest wording Canada is spelled c u t u r e pronounced in German is called ture and in English as culture. In Canada culture does not mean what it means in German. In fact in
Canada culture doesn't mean what it means in England or America. Now this confusion can be explained by a simple fact of Canadian life namely that Canada doesn't feel she has a real identifiable culture of her own and she desperately wants one. She feels cheated deprived and otherwise frustrated because it seems that everybody has a culture but her. She is dissatisfied with the hand-me-down cultures of England France and now of the United States. There is so much urgency in the pursuit of a national culture in the Dominion that many Canadians react to the word culture as they do in no other part of the world. The grimace of distaste and annoyance Admittedly these people are usually not the kind who are found on university campuses or engaged in serious discussions but they form a very impressionable segment of Canadian public and willy nilly. Perhaps will be the final arbiters on whether Canada's search for a distinctive culture will succeed or fail.
As the Canadian disjunct he said at the beginning in his American way Canada is a pallid imitation of the United States. What this means to Americans is that Canada is bent on developing our own culture one way or another. Whether this means restrictive legislation or special subsidies to artists broadcasters writers and musicians the problem was considered serious enough for a special royal commission established in 1909 under the chairmanship of Vincent Massey. The commission had this to say in its report. If we as a nation are concerned with the problem of Defense what we may ask ourselves are we defending we're defending civilization. Our share of it. Our contribution to it. The things with which our enquiry deals are the elements which give civilization its character and its meaning. It would be paradoxical to defend something which we are unwilling to strengthen and enrich and which we even allowed to
decline. But what was the commission referring to with the statement allowed to decline. Americans could now last declined from what. Certainly Canada's contribution to the music world leaves little room for decline. In literature the country has progressed further. Perhaps the earliest Canadian writer familiar to Americans is Thomas Halliburton the man who created Sam Slick in a series of sketches and titled The clockmaker or sayings and doings of Samuel L. slick of Slickville. Writing in his native Nova Scotia in the early 19th century. Haliburton wrote of the influx of New Englanders to Nova Scotia. Your stack come from you England and the beat is tower of Peoria yet near about one half apple and t'other half the molasses. Alas it seems kind of his fate that her talented people hanker for faraway places and Thomas Halliburton and Sam Slick move to England. This is
leaving of Canada is now looked upon as somehow unsporting though it was something of a national joke before it became a national calamity. It's not a new phenomenon however and early in this century Canada's best known writer humorist Stephen Leacock took note of it in his famous Sunshine Sketches of a little town. Right why it was her bag shot on Node 1 an impressive speaker a good. Run this night when he spoke with the quiet dignity of a man over the years and then just all the disservice country. He almost surpassed himself. I'm an old man now gentleman Bagshaw said. And time are soon come when I must take my way towards that goal from which no traveller return. It. Was understood to imply thought I was going to the United States. Oh on this type of humor it's been
called kind of his intellectual jujitsu. The weaker of two combatants using the strength of the stronger to throw him. If that's what it is it has so far failed to prevent talented Canadians from leaving their native land for the cultural and economic moors of the United States. Kenneth Galbraith Cyrus ete and Raymond Massey and many many other prominent successful Americans are Canadian born. According to the 950 U.S. Census one out of every 10 foreign born Americans were born in Canada. What about took concrete action against the encroachment of American culture and to give the country a national voice in 1936 with the establishment of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation a publicly owned TV radio networks in both French and English. It was costing the taxpayer about 60 million dollars a year in 1960 to maintain this service and while it is often attacked by the press and private broadcasters the CBC is just as vigorously
defended by every segment of Canadian society. Incidentally the CBC pattern was suggested by Americans for Americans when the TV scandals tarnished the reputations of U.S. networks. In spite of all efforts however most of what Canadians see in the movies watch on television or read in magazines comes from the United States. In the field of television and magazine publishing this cultural invasion in the 1960s led to direct action which had an important and immediate impact on the United States. First of these was a rule by the board of broadcast governors which strictly regulates Canadian Broadcasting. Setting a minimum Canadian content of 55 percent for television. The second and perhaps most controversial was the setting up of a royal commission to investigate charges that unfair competition from so-called Canadian editions of American magazines was all but killing the Canadian periodical press.
But first a few comments on the Canadian Broadcasting from the people directly involved. First Dr. Andrew Stewart chairman of the board of broadcast governors the balance interest in the network as an intent to sap a Canadian content on the Canadian purpose as a national purpose isn't about casting act. And we felt that these would be a vast data network and we think that there is enough advantage to the station in us that they will move into the network. It's quite true that the affiliates of the CBC are getting so substantial a proportion of Canadian content on the network adapter that there's not much pressure on them to meet even the 55 percent and 60 troops that I think the CBC will probably be increasing its Canadian content. So the problem is really a problem of the second stations and here our feeling is that defer if each of the nine news stations including the French language run in Montreal
has to do our of this. Canadian content merely for exposure on that so owned station that this would press too heavily on the available resources but if there isn't. A technique for getting a wider distribution of better programmes produced perhaps Babbar stations themselves that this will help them. Mr. Dunn Jamieson is a pioneer private television broadcaster in Canada. He had this to say about the progress of TB in the Dominion. It's quite incredible the strides that have been made in fact only a few days ago I looked at some of the television programs that were placed on film back in the mid 50s and it's quite remarkable the improvement I don't think the average person in the viewing audience is really aware of how far we've come. Mr. Jamieson is president of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters. He was asked what should be the goal of television broadcasting in Canada. I think that the people in British Columbia need to know more about the people in your homeland I think that we should have
a greater awareness of what it is that makes you take out here. I know that my audience as you know will read what I write to hear something of the problems for example of an economy affect them and to see something of me. Operations here as opposed to those in my province are by and large this is the really big job of Canadian television I think we should be doing more of this exchanging and creating this awareness this knowledge of Canada as an entity as a single nation instead of 10 separate and rather loosely knit together units I would be delighted to see this kind of thing develop still further and I hope that it will be one of the things that will come out of the expansion of television in the creation of more stations. But 10 local production compete with syndicated U.S. shows in terms of sets in use and the apparent indication of audience interest. I think that there is a great deal of interest in local production. I think the trick is to produce shows which the audience can associate themselves with which reflect the community reflect things in which they are interested. And very frequently this kind of program gains wider
acceptance and in many respects greater popularity than the so-called syndicated or show that is produced for general or almost universal viewing. How much of this talent would be of a satisfactory level for what might be described as national programming it's rather hard to say but insofar as you're fairly local area is concerned we have quite a pool. It depends upon the attitude you take at the beginning if you encourage people. It's amazing how much so-called amateurs will come ahead how much polish they will acquire. They become very nearly professional in their approach to television after a comparatively short time. We're very encouraged and we don't see that there's any great problem in this regard. But I have to qualify this of course. I think that this is a situation wherein there is no competitive signal available. A great deal depends on the audience what the audience would do if there was some alternative to this local production. It is rather difficult to say but if 55 percent Canadian content is going to go or if we're going to develop Canadian talent
along the lines that the board of broadcast governors and other groups have suggested then a great deal in my opinion depends upon the willingness of the audience to cooperate too. This is the element which we don't control and can't control. But if they recognize what they're trying to do and give support to local talent then I see no real reason why these objectives can't be achieved. Carlo Willetts is a member of the board of broadcasters governors and he discusses a proposal one of many which he put to the Canadian private radio broadcasters. To Jam commercials into certain moves while our bet is 6:00 to 9:00 in the morning two hours two to noon five to seven at night and then cut down on their commercials in the other hours the middle morning middle afternoon and late evening. The radio is going and home certainly at this time six to nine and I was by far the only picture shows off and relax for a few minutes we think she might be entitled to something that's a little calmer on earth
than watching. Now get. Well there was a lot of talk about Canadian content. But what is Canadian content. Perhaps Americans will recognize two comedians who qualify for Canadian content. Wayne and Schuster who were introduced to the United States audience by Ed Sullivan. Now Wayne and Schuster where well-known in Canada before Mr. Sullivan's discovery but it is part of the Canadian personality to give short trip to their own artists if they stay at home. It's a sentiment which is often expressed in the the words if they're any good why are they still in Canada with us Wayne and Schuster too many Canadians. Weird funny until they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. Even though the material used on the Ed Sullivan Show had been used earlier on the CBC network Ed Sullivan called this typical Canadian humor. Read up on my joke.
This play is presented with apologies to William Shakespeare. And so Francis Bacon. Just. Roll 44. My name is Flavius Maximus. I'm a private Roman. My license number as I XIV L. L. S. XM. Also comes in handy as an eye chart. And I am going to tell you about the Julius Caesar caper and all began during the Ides of March I was in my office I just sent another criminal to jail. So Tony is the gladiator. I've been fixing fights at the Coliseum at a crooked lion again taking a dive. Anyways I was sitting there my secretary walked in on me played. Easy with those marble postcards. Break my table anything else
baby. Somebody outside to see you. Seems awfully excited about summer. OK show me and thank you miss you leave us most private moment I know what's on your mind just a minute. We alone. Yeah we're alone. Are you sure we're alone. Yeah I'm sure we're all on our You're positive we're alone I'm positive we're alone. And beside you that's you. I know but can I be trusted. I could see I was dealing with no ordinary man. This guy was a not. What's on your mind maybe it's Maximus a terrible thing has happened. It's the greatest crime in the history of wrong all right given to destroy what Julius Caesar has been murdered. Oh yes she's a martyr. I couldn't believe my ears. Julie was dead. And was killed just 20 minutes ago. Happened in the Senate. It was staff dad and I got them
right in the rotunda. That's a painful spot I had a splinter there white marble splinters you know I tell you all the room is in an uproar and I came to you because you are the top private eye in a home you've got to find the killer where you can do it after all you're the guy who got Nero that sent him up on that arson rap. I'll never own up about him. Again at home in a juvenile. That was and still is Canadian content on Canadian television but Canadian content of so-called Canadian editions of American magazines is a matter of more serious concern. In 1960 Canada imported 87 and a half million dollars in U.S. publications while exporting less than four million dollars in Canadian publications domestic magazines are disappearing from the Canadian scene and the Royal Commission which investigated the situation agreed with the Northern publishers that they were faced
with ruin as a result of U.S. competition. They therefore recommended legislation which would restrict importing of foreign magazines which contain advertising directed at Canadians. But with little or no real Canadian content now the two great offenders were TIME magazine and Reader's Digest which after having published for their U.S. readers had only to stop their presses insert a few Canadian items and lots of Canadian advertising and then push them into the Canadian market. Both Reader's Digest and time fuck the recommendations of the Royal Commission calling them an interference with freedom of the press and attempt to deny Canadians these two magazines. Replying to these charges Maclean's magazine one of the only large Canadian magazines left stated in an editorial. The only restrictions proposed is directly against a form of commercial dumping that is unique in all the world. This is the dumping of
costly editorial material virtually free of charge as a means of selling advertising. And since the commission also believes that quote a periodical press is essential to the nation. No more to be produced for us by outlanders than our statute books unquote. It has suggested certain means of correcting a unique and intolerable situation so Johnny cannot in another area felt he had to step on a couple of toes which seem to be protruding too far over the border. Well so much for the magazines. Now if Canadians feel it necessary to erect a barrier against the northward flood of culture what if they got themselves behind the barrier to set up to satisfy the nation's cultural needs. The truth is not as much as they should have. An example is in the field of painting. Alan Jarvis formerly head of the National Art Gallery in Ottawa was interviewed in a crowded bank art gallery. He was asked if and when Canada ever developed a distinctive visual art
form rather late in the day it can be dated pretty specifically in 1913 1914. When one individual painter a man called Tom Thomson has become something of a Canadian national hero went into the north northern part of the interior and discovered me in he the Precambrian sheild Thompson discovered the unusual top published a distinctively Canadian. Began to paint it. Came back to Toronto during the winters of 1939. 18:14. And influenced a group of then young commercial artists were all working together in the same studio. Thereafter. This group of young men mostly dispersed and went off to paint the war for the first Canadian records. Thompson continued to paint in the north until he was very mysteriously drowned in 1917 to new to pain to the north until he was very mysteriously drowned in 1917. The young men who came back from the war these young painters in one thousand twenty and twenty one formed themselves into a
group and they called themselves the Group of Seven. And they continued to paint the north country in this distinctive rather simplified dramatic style. And the group of seven from one thousand twenty one or so was very definitely our native nationalist and distinctively Canadian school of painting. They had a tremendous influence over the next 20 years. One of the younger painters in Canada so that for almost a generation the only landscape was painted it was very rare for the artist to bother with portraits of the human figure. They were almost obsessed. With. The Northern landscape. They became. A much brighter maybe and I'm not going to really accept this bandit as an official group. And. Was supplanted by the Canadian good painters. It would be a group at. Least. 30 30 to 40 painters. All of them influenced by the group beginning to become a little more individual and some of them
drifting south from the Precambrian sheild paint other parts and Terrio other parts of Canada and beginning also to paint the city and industrial see Canadian art up into 1014 or into the twenties was largely a very provincial affair both in French Canada and an English speaking calendar. We had one or two fairly distinguished painters in English speaking Canada who were working in the classical British landscape tradition. Constable. French Canadian writer remained also rather provincial until really very recent times. Was very good work being done by the French artist particularly for the church particularly in the field of wood carving. But it would be. Quite unfair to imagine that any of the art produced in Canada at that time. Had any influence for him back in the US. Side world to talk. Perhaps least of all in the United States. We were far too busy developing the nation to care very much about the cuts. This is quite bluntly the case we were. A busy
materialistic people but only in very recent years that it's no longer regarded as sissy to be interested in the arts. This is the blunt fact about Canadian history. Up until 1913 the National Gallery in Ottawa was the most ghastly collection of Victorian junk. After electing 20 when Eric Brown became a curator he very bravely. Did a very unusual thing for a national federally financed gallery. He bought the work of these young artists particularly the Group of Seven. Of course Brown was a brave man to spend federal funds on the work of extremely young artists but he believed in them and he was vindicated because now it is a matter of pride. The National Gallery and also has a large and excellent collection of the Group of Seven painters and others at the same time. After 1930 the Canadian group of painters went on I would say as a rather pale imitation of the Group of Seven in a group of seven working at the virtue of tremendous
Realty and strength. It had the character of the Canadian north and incidentally one of the reasons why this caught on with great. Popularity quite quickly was that this was the moment at which we Canadians realized that our destiny lay in the thought that I was being explored in terms of mining the airplane was just beginning to open up the last areas and this had a great romantic sort of sociological foundation. In the 30s there was no very distinct Canadian art being produced. Except by one individual genius. David M. was completely outside the mainstream Canadian painting. He looked in isolation. In fact he spent a good deal of his life in the Adirondacks. In the United States in the United States before coming back to Canada in about 19. 20 nothing where he remained in interior until he died in 1940 a. Military the only artist I think of. Our time. Ranks with the great masters of the outside world and he's beginning to have
an international reputation. And I'm just at this moment finishing a book on him so I'm prejudiced in favor of me. Then came the impact of the war. Many of our younger artists went off as official war painters to document the activities of the Canadian Forces. And the war as in the field of the arts as in every other event. A drastic break. Since the war you have seen a tremendous upsurge in Canadian painting into quite distinct areas. As happens in Canada. English Canada and French Canada. And I just called the Border do I. He started a movement in. Montreal and in Quebec she called automatism it was painting almost in a trance like state. Not objective of course. And he had a very profound influence on all the younger French Canadian painters and particularly young men called St. Paul real Pether. Rebel is now painting in Paris has a worldwide
reputation as markets in Paris London New York Montreal wherever his paintings hang in the Guggenheim Museum the Museum of Modern Art. Many of the distinguished European galleries and he embodied to I have achieved a great international reputation for Canadian painting. In English speaking. Canada. The influence came primarily from New York from the teaching of Hans Hofmann who has of course influenced the course of American painting beyond all describing. And there were group of young English Canadians who call themselves painters 11. One of them Bill Ronald went off to New York to achieve considerable success. There. His work also hangs in the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim. We're now an affluent. And it may be cynical to say that the buying of painting is the substitute. So there are the cynics who say that I think that's a little unfair. But in an affluent society with no time. More and more people are buying and
collecting works of art than ever was thinkable in 1939. Well no it might be supposed that the language barrier would protect French speaking Canadians from the penetration of American cultural influences. But this is only partly true for today I Love Lucy becomes her daughter Lucy with dubbed in French dialogue. Hollywood movies are shown in Quebec with French subtitles. The French speaking Canadians are perhaps even more sensitive to this pervasive American cultural influence than are their English speaking countryman who are blamed by the French speaking Canadians for intellectual apathy if not actual connivance at the cultural invasion. Will such is the dilemma of a country which is borrowed liberally from other cultures old and new and now finds that it has neglected self development in this important aspect of national development. They are moving fast in Canada now to rectify the situation. The success of the spread Shakespearean Festival in
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The border in question
Word and picture war
Producing Organization
University of British Columbia
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program explores the cultural similarities and differences between Canada and the United states.
Other Description
Documentary series on U.S.-Canadian relations, from a Canadian point of view.
Broadcast Date
Global Affairs
Media type
Narrator: Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
Producing Organization: University of British Columbia
Production Manager: Valentine, Bill
Writer: McCarthy, William
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 61-57-7 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:03
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Chicago: “The border in question; Word and picture war,” 1961-12-14, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed January 24, 2022,
MLA: “The border in question; Word and picture war.” 1961-12-14. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. January 24, 2022. <>.
APA: The border in question; Word and picture war. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from